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Try pressing a key. Does the second note sound higher or lower in pitch?

Try this keyboard with a friend and compare your perceptions.

When a pair of these notes are played, the second note could sound higher to one person but lower to another person and neither person would be wrong. How is this possible?


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The Tritone Paradox:

This is a special keyboard. Playing one note also plays a second note exactly one half octave - a tritone - across the keyboard.

The notes on this Tritone keyboard are actually chords comprised of six notes. Each note is from a different octave and each is played at a different volume. (See the Discrete page for more details.) This construction method creates "notes" without clear octave information.

Because the auditory clues of these notes are ambiguous, there is not a single objective answer as to whether the second note played is higher or lower than the first.

Individuals will tend to evaluate sound changes based upon the tonal range of their native language and dialect.

It is theorized that, during childhood, human beings fix in their minds a personal tonal range based upon the pitch of their speech patterns. Throughout their life, people will compare sounds to this "template."

For further Scientific information check out our Links page.


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